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Old 25th August 2010, 02:37   #1
mysterd429
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Default Essential tools

Hi all,

I'd like to know what you consider to be essential tools for scratch building. I'm relatively new, but I just got a workshop and layout space with attached house and I'm looking to buy a few tools. I've got started with the usual household tools, a 2" miter box and saw, a hobby knife, miniature files, and a few odds and ends. I seem to lean towards with styrene for rolling stock with brass wire for some detailing, all in HO scale. I'm thinking of getting one of those magnetic gluing jigs, some digital calipers, and a small vise grip. What else would be useful?

After my workshop is set up, I hope to get back into scratch-building. There's a lot of 1:1 work to be done before then, but I might as well get started with some tools.

Cheers!
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Old 25th August 2010, 02:41   #2
RW James
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Default Re: Essential tools

I'm a nut for for different tweezers. My favorite has a really sharp point (that has landed in my lap more than once!). And various kinds of small clamps.

Oh and one really important tool is a scale rule. It really helps you think in your selected scale when you can make all the measurements in that scale (that is, instead of converting from millimeters or inches)
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Old 25th August 2010, 02:54   #3
Roy Buchanan
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Default Re: Essential tools

An absolute must is a sharp exacto knife with lots of spare blades. A small square is also essential.

Roy
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Old 25th August 2010, 03:57   #4
BR60103
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Default Re: Essential tools

I have a whole collection of clamps and tweezers.
My favourites are tweezers that are sprung closed -- both sharp pointed and broad.
Assorted spring camps. Spring wooden clothespins and modified ones with the wood bits reversed to give a longer clamp.
Toothpicks, both round and flat.
Wax paper and aluminum foil. I put a drop of white (or yellow) glue on the foil and put it in place with a toothpick. Similarly with paint and a brush.
Hardest to find: all sorts of weights.
I have the gluing tray. I like it but need a bit better style of magnets.
I have a wheel back-to-back gauge which is mostly a rectangular brass block with the best 90 degree angles I've seen. I use it on inside corners.
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Old 25th August 2010, 10:17   #5
JackBlack
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Default Re: Essential tools

A soldering iron for metal work.
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Old 25th August 2010, 11:34   #6
Made in Italy
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Default Re: Essential tools

I will add a "handpowered" chuck with jaws from 0,2 to 3mm drills!
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Old 25th August 2010, 13:26   #7
Howqua
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Default Re: Essential tools

A Dremmel is a good one.
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Old 25th August 2010, 17:00   #8
Roy Buchanan
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Default Re: Essential tools

A thirdhand device is pretty handy, especially for soldering. A mini-chop saw helps when building with wood or strip styrene. I hardly ever use my mitre box anymore. They can be found online at reasonable prices.
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Old 25th August 2010, 17:33   #9
mysterd429
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Default Re: Essential tools

Thanks for all of the replies. I have the scale rule down to 3" scale, and the pin vise for small drill bits.

I'll buy some spare blades for my hobby knife. Is there a type that's particularly good at cutting styrene sheets?

I've got a soldering iron that I use for electrical, but I'm sure I'll delve into brass at some point. Is there a particular type of tip that's useful?

Is a thirdhand device a particular product, or just any old thing that holds something?

Is there a tool that's particularly good at cutting brass wire? I'm using some .020" brass wire on my current 1:87 project and I keep getting burrs that I have to file down.

It looks like my list will be:
magnetic gluing jig
digital calipers (because I'm a perfectionist)
a small vise grip (for which I may make jigs with foam to hold stuff)
spare hobby knife blades
squares of various sorts
tweezers of various sorts
clothes pins
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Old 25th August 2010, 17:52   #10
RW James
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Default Re: Essential tools

Regarding the hobby knife - Xacto used to have an ad in Model Railroader with a dashed box that said something about cutting the box out with your knife and if the following pages weren't also cut out then it was time to change the blade. While they weren't really advocating cutting up your magazine, the point was good - we often save our blades too long. You should probably change your blade at least once for every new project. So do what I do, buy your blades by the boxfull.

I have two "third hands". One is a weighted clamp that holds a sprung self-closing tweezer. I probably use that more than any. Another one has two small alligator clips and a magnifying glass. I don't think I've ever used it, because I keep forgetting I have it - but it seems like a good idea.
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